Privacy Law

New Jersey federal judge: 'Monster' who killed my son had dossier on us; we need judicial privacy

  • Print

Federal judges should not have to live in fear, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas of the District of New Jersey said in a video statement Monday.

Salas called for more privacy protections for judges in the video, released about two weeks after Salas’ son was killed and her lawyer husband was wounded in a July 19 shooting at her home.

The New York Times, and NPR have coverage.

Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, is still hospitalized after multiple surgeries for gunshot wounds to his right chest, his left abdomen and his right forearm. Their son, Daniel Anderl, died after he was shot in the chest.

The suspect was Roy Den Hollander, a 72-year-old men’s rights lawyer who previously criticized Salas for moving too slowly in his case challenging the all-male draft. Hollander, who was also linked to the shooting of a rival men’s rights lawyer, apparently shot himself after opening fire at Salas’ New Jersey home.

“Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant, and my family will never be the same,” Salas said in the video. “A madman, who I believe was targeting me because of my position as a federal judge, came to my house.”

Salas said the family and some of her son’s friends from the Catholic University of America had celebrated Daniel’s 20th birthday at their home over the weekend. The friends had left, and Daniel was in the basement with Salas when the doorbell rang.

“And before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs. Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming, ‘No!’ ” Salas said as she fought back tears.

Salas said Daniel protected his father when he was shot in the chest.

“My family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure. And I am here asking everyone to help me ensure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain,” Salas said. “We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again, but we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down.”

Salas said federal judges understand that their decisions may be scrutinized, and their job requires them to make tough calls that can leave people angry and upset. “That comes with the territory, and we accept that,” Salas said.

“But what we cannot accept is when we are forced to live in fear for our lives because personal information, like our home addresses, can easily be obtained by anyone seeking to do us or our families harm,” Salas said. Addresses and personal information are available on the internet and from private companies, she said.

“Unfortunately, for my family, the threat was real, and the free flow of information from the internet allowed this sick and depraved human being to find all our personal information and target us,” Salas said. “In my case, the monster knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family.”

Salas said she was begging those in power to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private.

“Let’s commence a national dialogue; let’s work collaboratively to find a solution that will safeguard the privacy of federal judges,” she said. “Let me be clear and tell you firsthand: This is a matter of life and death.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.